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Jun 10, 2013

Even More From The Isle Of Man TT Races

Isle of Man TT: John McGuinness (3). Photo by Mark Walters, courtesy of John McGuinness.
Superb Senior race victory makes it 20 TT wins in total for McGuinness

Morecambe’s John McGuinness ended his 2013 Isle of Man TT campaign with a superb win in Friday’s Senior race, taking his 20th TT win and 41st podium in total, the latter the highest total ever achieved in the history of the event. The Honda TT Legends rider was in imperious form around the Mountain Course once more and eventually ran out the victor by 10.1s from team-mate Michael Dunlop.

The initial race, which got underway at 1.00pm, was red flagged after a racing incident and so the race was re-run at the later time of 4.30pm and it was Dunlop who led from John at the end of the opening lap, the gap between the duo just 1.4s. There was little to choose between the team-mates in the early stages but a lap of 131.272mph gave the Morecambe Missile a 2.3s lead at the end of the second lap as the riders came in for their first pit stop.

John’s pit crew again excelled at the stop and with another 131mph+ lap on the fourth lap, his lead went up to six seconds and it gave him the breathing space he needed. Circulating at high speed on the roads with Kawasaki rider James Hillier, John added another four seconds to his lead in the final two laps and he was able to come for his sixth Senior race victory, one less than the great Mike Hailwood but one more than Italian legend Giacomo Agostini.

Speaking later, a delighted John said; It feels absolutely fantastic to win again and if there’s one race to win, it’s the Senior. I’ve had a good week but a win’s escaped me so do it today with the sun shining and thousands of fans waving me all the way, is brilliant. The conditions were incredible, the bike was fantastic and with two superb pit stops we got the job done. I still feel really sharp and I hit all my apexes on the final lap and I’ve never known a reception like it all the way round the course. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many fans lining the roadside and the Island really is an amazing place. I couldn’t have asked for a better day and the job’s a dream!”

It's now back to National Superstock 1000cc Championship duty for John with the next round taking place at Knockhill, Scotland on June 14-16.

More, from a press release issued by Quattro Plant Kawasaki:

Sensational Lightweight TT victory for Hillier

James Hillier ensured his 2013 Isle of Man TT ended in the best possible way with a stunning, record-breaking victory in Friday's 3-lap Lightweight TT race. The Quattro Plant Kawasaki rider set lap and race records to claim his maiden TT victory in stunning style and then went on to claim a brilliant fourth place in the Blue Riband Senior race, also becoming the sixth fastest rider ever in the history of the event with a lap of 131.386mph.

After taking a strong sixth in Wednesday's second Supersport 600cc race, Friday saw James contest both the Lightweight and Senior TT races and he signalled his intentions immediately in the smaller-capacity Lightweight race, smashing the lap record on the opening lap on the 650cc ER6 Kawasaki with a speed of 117.959mph. It gave him an 8.4s lead over fellow Kawasaki rider Dean Harrison and although pit stop strategies then saw a slight shuffling of the leaderboard, by the end of the second lap James was back in the lead. With perfect conditions on the Island, James literally flew round the 37 and 3/4-mile Mountain Course on the final lap and a stunning final lap of 119.130mph saw him take his maiden TT victory by a commanding 33.5s.

Later in the day, he was back out on the 1000cc ZX-10R Kawasaki for the 6-lap Senior and after placing eighth on the opening lap, he soon began to move up the leaderboard. Circulating at high speed on the roads with TT legend, and eventual race winner, John McGuinness, James put in another brilliant performance and not only did he break the 130mph barrier for the first time, he recorded two laps in excess of 131mph. It briefly elevated him to third place but there was nothing between James and Bruce Anstey, the gap going into the final lap just 0.2s and although James set his personal best lap of 131.386mph, Anstey went slightly quicker and his lap of 131.531mph gave him the final podium place by 0.9s. Nevertheless, the fourth place result was an excellent achivement and with his other stunning performances during the week, it wrapped up his best ever week of racing.

There was also joy for Steve Heneghan as he recorded his best ever lap of the Mountain Course, 121.384mph, to claim 33rd in the Senior and win another bronze replica.

Speaking later, a delighted James said; "It's an amazing feeling to win and even though we felt the Lightweight race was our best chance of success, it's definitely going to take a while to sink in. It was hard work with the hot weather but I loved every minute of it and the bike worked beautifully. I had a bit of drama on the opening lap when I pulled two tear-offs off instead of one but I pressed on really hard and everything worked as planned. We were still unsure about our pit stop strategy and 15 minutes before the race we were going to stop at the end of the second but I'm glad we changed our minds. I was paranoid on the last lap that something was going to go wrong as things seemed to be going too well but once I saw 'P1 +25s', I was able to roll off a bit over the Mountain and bring the bike home. I'm over the moon and being a TT winner is an unbelievable feeling."

"I was on a massive high but gave it my all again in the Senior and to circulate on the roads with John for four and a half laps was very, very special. I had to keep pinching myself that he was only a few metres in front as he really is the maestro around here and whilst I wanted to come away with a 130mph+ lap this week, to record two in excess of 131mph is unreal. It's been quite simply a brilliant week and I'd like to thank everyone connected with the Quattro Plant Kawasaki team. They've given me superb machinery and the level of support has been fantastic."

The team now head to Knockhill, Scotland with Chris Walker and Danny Buchan resuming their British Superbike Championship campaign, the meeting taking place on June 14-16.

More, from a press release issued by Dan Kneen/Marks Bloom Racing:

Excellent final day for Kneen at TT2013

Dan Kneen ended his campaign at the 2013 Isle of Man TT Races on Friday with two top fifteen finishes and a silver and bronze replica to add to his ever-growing collection. The highlight of the day was 12th in the Blue Riband Senior event, which saw him lap at close to 127mph and win not only a silver replica but also the Gavin Lee Trophy, awarded to the highest placed Manx rider in the race.

With glorious weather conditions all around the Mountain Course, Dan's day started with the 3-lap Lightweight race where he lined up on the Track Electronics ER6 650cc Kawasaki. Despite a lack of track time on the bike during practice week, an opening lap of 111.639mph saw Dan lie in 14th place before he pitted for fuel. Moving up to 13th place, another lap in excess of 111mph on the third and final lap saw Dan maintain this position and he picked up another bronze replica.

After the initial start was red-flagged due to a racing incident on Bray Hill, the 6-lap Senior race got underway at the later time of 4.30pm and an opening lap of nearly 126mph, gave Dan an excllent chance of claiming another top twelve position as he lay in 14th place. Here he stayed on the second lap before a good first pit stop saw him move up one place. With his sixth and final lap being his best of the week, 126.868mph, and just three seconds off his personal best, he was able to move up to 12th place at the cheqeured flag to claim another another silver replica and the aforementioned Gavin Lee Trophy. It also allowed him to finish second overall in the TT Privateer's Championship.

Speaking later a satisfied Dan said; "It's been a bit of a mixed two weeks really but I'm happy with the final day and it's been good to get a solid amount of racing under my belt. It was always going to be hard work coming here after the foot injury and with so little time on the bikes whilst the weather in practice week hurt us more than most. I needed a good, solid practice week to get up to speed but I ended up having to use the races for this but all the laps you do around the Mountain Course are of use as you never stop learning. Some of the races went well with a couple being disappointing but, like I say, it's ended on a good note and I'm happy enough with 12th in the Senior and a near 127mph lap. The pace has been red hot this year and I know there's still more to come from me so I'll be back stronger next year. Finally, a big thank you to everyone in the team for all their hard work and to everyone who's supported me these last two weeks."

More, from a press release issued by PTR Honda:

A new venture for PTR in 2013 was to build the 2013 CBR600RR for Honda to be supplied to Michael Dunlop's MD Racing Team for the Isle of Man TT.

We spoke with Gary Ryan, the long time sponsor and friend of Michael Dunlop, and with Michael himself to provide the support package for the NW200, TT and Ulster Grand Prix so we could be sure that Michael would get the full benefit of the PTR Honda at the major road races. As all of you know the NW200 was mostly a wash out, however, Michael still managed second place in the Thursday Supersport race on a wet but drying track; after just missing out on the win to a charging Alistair Seeley on the last lap. He made amends in the shortened wet race on Saturday taking his and PTR's first NW200 Supersport win to set himself up for the TT.

He started the TT with chief mechanic to Matt Davies, Mark Kelly, there as PTR support before Carl (Stan) Meakin and myself took over towards the end of practice week. From our side we cannot praise the commitment and focus of Michael Dunlop enough. He, Gary Ryan and the rest of the MD racing boys were a joy to work with.

I have known Michael for a while now after he rode our bike in the 2011 Sunflower races at Bishops Court, where we could already see the massive potential he had to move to the next level. We are proud to have been part of his 2013 TT effort and after dominating Supersport race one to control the race and win comfortably by just over 10 seconds; he went into race two in a confident position. What a race that proved to be! Full praise to Bruce Anstey and Padgett's for giving Michael such a push, but his ability, style and determination shone through again as he broke the lap record by nearly a full mile an hour to lift the bar to 128.6 mph and set a new race record and win again.

This added to his domination of Superbike race one and then another heroic last lap charge to secure another race and lap record in the Superstock race with a lap of 131.2 mph, just over three seconds outside the new outright lap record set by John McGuinness on the last lap of Sunday's Superbike race. I am sure Michael could have set a new lap record in the first Superbike race as well but he showed his new maturity to do the job and not be lured into a last lap charge with such a comfortable winning margin.

People have said that Michael is hard work to have in a team but I have to say I do not agree now I know this man. I find him to be a nice but determined and focused man surrounded by loyal people in Gary Ryan and the other boys from MD Racing. In his own words he is just a normal young guy doing what he loves to do.

In the modern and sometimes over commercial world that racing now is I cannot tell you what a refreshing experience it has been to see his desire to win coupled with genuine happiness to be racing. These boys know how to work hard but still get the full enjoyment out of what they are doing. I think I can safely say I cannot remember laughing so much whilst everyone gave it their all to get the rewards of victory.

Although very different people Eugene Laverty and Michael are a rarity these days in the fact that they show loyalty to the sponsors and don't forget that they are the ones who have made it possible to get them where they now are. Michael is now on the crest of a wave and he fully deserves it. He could not make it all five race wins. In the Senior John McGuinness put together a great race to take the win. Michael felt he hit some slower riders at the wrong time and lost a little in the pit stops but he took nothing away from John and four wins and a second place is not exactly shabby for anyone in the TT. He should be very proud of his achievements and now takes his place as a true star of road racing.

A few things to watch out for as this year goes on may even be an appearance from Michael Dunlop at a WSS event. Watch this space. Together with Gary Ryan we will try and make that happen and I am sure many of you will come along to see just what he can do. I have every faith in him, he is not just a road racer, this is a talented rider with good feel for a bike.



More, from a press release issued by Metzeler:


A double in the Lightweight with James Hillier and Dean Harrison, second place for Gary Johnson in the Royal London Superstock, races always hard fought up to the last lap in all classes and the Metzeler 150th Ultimate Party brought excitement to lovers of the German brand and of road racing

Rome, Georgia – 9 June 2013 – A positive balance sheet resulted from Metzeler's participation in the 2013 edition of the Tourist Trophy not only for the satisfactions and the placings obtained by the riders but also for the atmosphere that the German brand was able to evoke on the island creating the Metzeler Village at the National Sports Centre in Douglas and organizing the Metzeler 150th Ultimate Party last night at Villa Marina Royal Hall which was attended by the Metzeler riders and by more than 1000 motorcyclists who had come to the Isle of Man to watch the races and to experience the special atmosphere to be breathed around these spectacular competitions on the roads.

Metzeler's commitment and the dedication of teams and riders for which the German tire brand was the technical supplier was constant for the entire duration of the Tourist Trophy, enabling good results and excellent placings to be obtained. In particular on Friday 7 June James Hillier and Dean Harrison won a splendid double for Metzeler claiming respectively the first and second place on the podium in the class Lightweight TT while Gary Johnson was the protagonist right up to the end in the Royal London Superstock obtaining second place at the finish. The other races of the week were also hard fought by the Metzeler riders up to the last lap with the Pokerstars Senior TT which saw James Hillier struggle up to the last corners for third place on the podium, but having then to make do with fourth, followed over the finishing line by Guy Martin (5th) and Michael Rutter (6th). These last two, however, helped to make the competition spectacular with breathtaking overtaking obtaining also excellent placings (respectively 4th and 6th) in the Dainese Superbike.

For Metzeler taking part in the 2013 Tourist Trophy was also the occasion to celebrate the 150th anniversary of its foundation together with its fans from all over Europe for whom the little blue elephant company made available the Metzeler Village, a camp site at which it was possible to stay for free, and organized the Metzeler 150th Ultimate Party last night with the participation of DC/AC, an AC/DC tribute band, and of many riders, much loved by the many – more than one thousand - motorcyclists present at the party.

Enrico D’Aloja, Metzeler Brand Manager, said: “Our intention was to celebrate the 150-year history of our brand together with our fans in a place, the Isle of Man, which historically has always had great charm and appeal for motorcyclists all over the world not only for the special nature of races run on public roads but also and above all for the atmosphere, the enthusiasm and the love of bikes, that you can breathe on the island during the days when the Tourist Trophy is held. Being able to celebrate our 150th anniversary together with the riders and motorcyclists who had come to the island was the greatest satisfaction for us!”.

Metzeler’s commitment to road racing activities has not finished with this event. Some of the Metzeler riders, including Guy Martin, Gary Johnson, Dean Harrison and James Hillierwill in fact take part in the Ulster Gran Prix, the “fastest road race in the world” scheduled from 12 to 17 August in Northern Ireland, a competition in which Metzeler will be a title sponsor from this year and for the next three years, confirming its interest and involvement in road competitions both in the short and the long term.

More, from a press release issued by SMT Racing:

Two top twelve finishes conclude successful TT campaign for SMT Racing

The 2013 Isle of Man TT Races concluded for SMT Racing last week with two top twelve finishes for Barrow-in-Furness’ Dan Stewart in the second Supersport and Senior races although there was disappointment for race one winners Tim Reeves/Dan Sayle when they were forced to retire from the second Formula Two Sidecar race.

Wednesday was another busy day for the team with the morning’s 4-lap Supersport race followed by the 3-lap second Sidecar race and a solid start in the former saw Dan lap at 122.446mph on the Honda CBR600 to lie in 11th place at the end of the first lap. Indeed, the race saw Dan lap consistently above the 122mph mark, and it meant he maintained his position throughout out to claim his second silver replica of the week.

After claiming victory in the first race, hopes were high that Kent’s Reeves and Manxman Sayle could serve up a repeat performance in the second of the Sidecar races and an opening lap of 113.465mph left them handily placed in second. However, the Birchall brothers were setting a ferocious pace and had overhauled Tim and Dan on the roads but half way round the second lap,it was all over for the SMT Racing duo as they were forced to retire at Ballaugh, their dreams of a double over.

That just left the Senior race where Stewart was again back out on the Honda Fireblade and looking for a top six finish after his DNF in the Superbike race held earlier in the week. A late engine change didn’t help the preparation and with the characteristics and set-up of the new engine not being conducive to 129mph+ laps as before, Dan was unable to challenge as he would have liked. Nevertheless, he again put in a high class performance to claim ninth place at the end of six hard-fought laps for his third silver replica of the week.

Speaking later, team owner Robin Croft commented; “We’re disappointed with the outcome of the second Sidecar race as we knew Tim and Dan had the pace to challenge for the race win once more. The Birchall brothers were going very well and there’s no doubt it would have been a tough race had it gone the full three laps but, sadly, technical problems meant it all ended for Tim, Dan and the team on the second lap.”

“Dan (Stewart) had another solid ride in the second Supersport race and we were all really excited about the Senior given the fact the big bikes suit Dan more and after his good showing in the Superbike race. However, we had to do a late engine change and it meant Dan didn’t get to do a practice lap with the different configuration engine. It had more power than the other one and was just too brutal for the Mountain Course so it was a real handful throughout the six laps. It didn’t give Dan the stability he needed and so he rode a sensible race, lapping at the pace he felt comfortable at and getting another top ten finish for both himself and the team.”

“Overall, we’re very proud of the results and performances achieved by Dan, Tim and Dan and we’ve had a fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable TT. The boys have got home safe and sound with four silver replicas in the bag and none of us can wait until TT2014.”

The team now revert back to their British F1 Sidecar and Superstock Championship campaign with the Knockhill circuit in Scotland hosting the next round on June 14-16.
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